Rhode Island poised to triple number of medical marijuana dispensaries

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Rhode Island regulators are expected in the coming weeks to announce the licensing application period for six new medical cannabis dispensaries.

The new licenses awarded by the Department of Business Regulations will be assigned using a lottery system, according to Providence TV station WPRI.

Currently, Rhode Island has only three operating dispensaries, called compassion centers in the state.

There will be one dispensary for each of the six geographic zones in Rhode Island.

An applicant who applies for a compassion center license may submit only one application per zone, according to a final version of a new MMJ regulation released by regulators.

The 128-page report released by the Department of Business Regulations comes in the wake of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo settling a feud with the General Assembly in January.

The new regulations ban the new dispensaries from initially growing cannabis.

Rhode Island plans to conduct a market demand study “to protect the needs of qualifying patients.”

After the study is completed, the new dispensaries will be able to request permission to grow medical marijuana.